Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to this establishment for a complimentary meal. All opinions expressed in this post are my own
Balzem is a really wonderful new Mediterranean spot in the heart of Nolita. Owned by Balahan Bobus who is also the Executive Chef, Balzem is a true labor of love. I recently attended a press dinner there and was really delighted by the entire experience.
The eclectic menu focuses on sharing small plates which are big on flavors and freshness. Several of the dishes are from family recipes that Balahan has recreated with a modern touch.
What I love most about Balahan’s cooking is that he doesn’t drown out his dishes with heavy sauces or too much spice. Each dish from the vegetables to seafood to meat is handled with just the perfect amount of seasoning that really allows the freshness of the ingredients to be tasted.
I also think that at Balzem – they have mastered the art of grilling. Both the seafood courses we tried which consisted of a charred octopus and a grilled shrimp were done to perfection. One of my absolute favorite dishes was the Zucchini pancakes which were such a surprise!
Balzem has a phenomenal wine program with wine director Mehdi Mokrani who offers a really well curated selection of Mediterranean wines from small-estate vineyards. Each dish we tried was perfectly paired with wines that not only surprised us but really delighted us too.
Balzem is open for lunch and dinner everyday with a happy hour from 5:00 – 7:00 PM with $6 wines, $5 beers and $5 mezze and tapas. They also offer brunch on Sundays and plan to have outdoor seating starting in June.
Here is some of what we ate:
Grilled Lamb Brochette
Truffle Mac n Cheese
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake